Friday, September 14, 2007

Health news for today

Don't forget to come back for my regular blog posts, back on the 24th. I'll be posting a couple of times from my vacation spot though, so you just never know what may pop up. :-)

News for today:
Fewer seniors taking higher-risk medications: CIHI study
Cephalon Drug Is Tied to Several Deaths
Mobile Phones Do No Harm, UK Report
Virus Link To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Spelling tricks

A post on spelling tricks and language - for those who like my news links, they’re below as usual.

I decided to write on spelling tricks when I had to write a particular word yesterday many, many times but in a program without autocorrect. I just cannot, no matter how I try, remember how to spell resuscitate. It’s a word that absolutely will not get into this brain data bank of mine.

When my children were in elementary school, they faced the same spelling issues that most of us did when learning how to spell in English. They made the same errors and had the same frustrations. For instance, when to use/spell where, wear, their, there, its, it’s, and so on.

Luckily, I have a knack for spelling and didn’t have a lot of those same spelling issues. And, somehow without thinking about it too much, I was able to come up with some tricks that have helped them over the years. Remember, these are just tricks, they may not have any true basis in spelling history – that’s not the point. They’re only memory aids.

If you have any you’d like to add, please leave them in the comment section and I’ll put them all together and post a link for anyone to access if they want.

A lot – not alot. Why? The measurement is lot so as you would write a bag of apples, you would write a lot of apples.

A while – not awhile. Why? You write say aminute or anhour.

It’s versus its. When you are using it for possessive, as in “that dog has its own bed,” it does not have the apostrophe. How to remember? There’s no apostrophe in her or his: “that girl has her own bed,” or “that boy has his own bed.”

There versus their versus they’re. There is for pointing out a spot. The word here is in the word there. So, if you can write, “put that book over here,” you write: “put that book over there.” The apostrophe on they’re tells you right away it is a replacement for missing letters so it is a replacement for they are.

Where versus wear: - As with there, where has the word here in it. If you can write "Where is the book?" with “over here,” you spell it as where.

Here versus hear: you hear with your ear.

Peace versus piece: a piece is a section of something, like a pie. “I would like a piece of pie, please.”

How to spell

friend: Friend has an end on it.
their: Other than the “i before e” saying, you can remember that both there and their begin with the – always

accelerate: the word rate only has one R in the front

And, for those who need to write my name and can’t remember the letter order: think of the alphabet. MarIJKe.

That’s it’s for the week! I’m starting my vacation very early tomorrow morning. I may post sporadically over the next week but I’m back for sure as of the 24th. I have to – it’s my baby’s birthday. My third one will 16! Please check back if you enjoy reading my blog.

News for Today:

Prostate cancer drug can help identify aggressive tumours early: study
Childhood mortality worldwide drops to record low: UNICEF
Birth control reduces risk of certain cancers: study
Breastfeeding doesn't protect babies from asthma, allergies: study
Disease activity increases after MS patients stop drug
Doctors may need support to cope with patient death

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Latex allergy

Do you know anyone who has a latex allergy? Someone with a latex allergy can have a very difficult time with some activities that the rest of us take for granted. And worse, they can be exposed to life-threatening situations whenever they are hospitalized, visit an emergency room, or go for an annual physical exam.

This type of allergy isn’t common; it’s estimated to affect about 1% of the North American population, but it does seem to be coming more common. Latex is all around us. It’s made from fluid that comes from the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Latex is found in every day products such as:

• Dishwashing gloves
• Carpeting
• Waistbands
• Balloons
• Rubber toys
• Hot water bottles
• Baby bottle nipples
• Disposable diapers
• Sanitary pads
• Rubber bands
• Erasers
• Condoms
• Diaphragms
• Swim goggles
• Racket handles
• Motorcycle and bicycle handgrips

And for those who are in the healthcare field or who are ill and must be cared for, latex is also found in:

• Blood pressure cuffs
• Stethoscopes
Intravenous tubing
• Syringes
• Respirators
• Electrode pads
• Surgical masks

(these lists were taken from Latex Allergy)

People who are most at risk of developing a latex allergy seem to fall into four distinct groups, two of which are made up of people who are exposed to latex products frequently and over long periods of time:

Children with spina bifida, health care workers (including dental), people who have allergies to foods such as avocado, kiwi, and passion fruit (they contain some of the same allergens as latex), and people with a family history of allergies.

Signs and symptoms can range from mild to life threatening anaphylactic shock.

Since latex is just about everywhere, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have an allergy to it. I once looked after a patient with a latex allergy and it was very hard to remember to ensure that no latex products, including gloves that we used for patient care, got into his room. He was so sensitive to it that he would react if there was a box of latex gloves in his room.

As with most allergies, the only way a latex allergy can be managed is by avoiding contact or inhalation of latex; something that can’t be easy in our society. And, very importantly, if you have a latex allergy, it’s vital that you wear a medic alert bracelet. In an emergency situation, there is latex everywhere as the healthcare workers do their work. A medic alert bracelet may be the only way they can know that you have this allergy.

News for Today:
Say Om: yoga and other therapies good for chronic pain
Needle phobic? New skin patches deliver drugs painlessly
'Fruity vegetables' and fish reduce asthma and allergies
Long-term use of diabetes drug increases heart attack risk by more than 40 percent
Drug used for treatment for heart failure in adults may not be beneficial for children and teens
Lowering homocysteine levels does not improve outcomes for patients with chronic kidney disease

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What do you know about colon cancer?

A different approach to today’s blog. First, a quiz about a topic that we all just love to talk about: colon cancer. What? It’s not a top 10 topic? You’re right. It’s not. The problem is, it’s likely not in the top 100. We don’t talk about it.

Let’s see how much you know about colon cancer and the answers are at the end of the blog entry.

Ok, here we go:

1- The colon is:
a) The small intestine
b) The large intestine
c) The entire intestinal tract
d) A punctuation mark

2- The role of the colon is to: ___________

3- Name some of the risk factors for colon cancer:

4- Screening for colon cancer does not include:
a) Digital rectal exam
b) Blood test
c) Colonoscopy
d) Barium enema
e) Fecal blood test

5- Screening should begin at 65

6- Which of the following is not a symptom of colon cancer:
a) Diarrhea
b) Constipation
c) Nausea and/or vomiting
d) Feeling of needing to empty bowels constantly
e) Bright red blood in your stool
f) Dark blood in your stool
g) Oddly shaped, narrow stools
h) Cramping, gas pain
i) Bloating
j) Weight loss
k) Fatigue
l) They’re all symptoms

How do you think you did?

Colon cancer affects both men and women, most often after the age of 50 and is the third most common cancer in both. Prostate and lung cancers come before for men and breast and lung cancers for women. Even scarier: it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

Patient education published by the Centers of Disease Control states that up to 60% of colon cancer-related deaths could be avoided by proper colorectal cancer screening.

Now the answers:

1- The colon is the large intestine. The small intestine empties into the large intestine (or large bowel), which runs for about 4 or 5 feet.

2- The role of the colon is to pull out the nutrients and water from the food as it passes through. What remains is the waste that is eliminated as stool.

3- Name some of the risk factors for colon cancer:
Being over 50 years old
Having a history of colorectal polyps, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
Having a family history of colorectal cancer
Diet – high fat, low fiber diets

4- Screening for colon cancer doesn't include a blood test. A digital rectal exam can detect suspicious masses near the rectum, a colonoscopy looks into the colon and can remove polyps. A barium enema gives your doctor a view of the colon, but cannot remove any polyps. A fecal blood test is a simple test that checks for blood in your stool that might not be visible by the naked eye.

5- Screening should begin at 65
False – screening should begin at 50 for people who are not in a high-risk category. Earlier screening is recommended for those at high risk of developing colorectal cancer.

6- Which of the following is not a symptom of colon cancer:

They’re all symptoms.

So – how did you do?

News for Today:
The fight against colorectal cancer
Antidepressants better than antipsychotics in treating psychosis: study
Deaths, adverse side-effects linked to drugs rise: study
Colloidal silver supplement poses health risks: Health Canada
Nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin associated with reduced risk for age-related eye disease
Decline in blood platelet count associated with increased risk of HIV-related dementia
Medication appears helpful for treatment of erectile dysfunction in men with spinal cord injuries
New lung cancer guidelines oppose general CT screening

Monday, September 10, 2007

Advanced directives/Living wills

Post 100! When I began writing this blog, I wasn’t sure if it would last a week, let alone for 100 posts. Where’s my cake? {grin}.

Ok, now for the stuff that people come for:

How many of you have advanced directives or a living will? If you don’t have one, have you thought about one?

I’m working on a proposal for a potential client and one part includes information on advanced directives, what’s involved and why people should have them. I don’t have one on paper, although I have discussed this with family and friends. Considering my work as a nurse, after seeing what I have seen, you would think that I would have it more together and have my wishes written out, but I am like millions of other North Americans and just haven’t gotten around to doing it.

What are advanced directives? An advanced directive or living will is an important document that relays your wishes for health or medical care if you are unable to speak for yourself or if you are unable to make such decisions. If you don’t have an advanced directive, family or friends may be forced into the position of choosing for you. Even if you have discussed this issue with them before, it is still a difficult decision for another person to make. By having a living will, you keep others from having to take on the burden.

Advanced directives may sometimes be called DNRs or Do Not Resuscitate orders, but a DNR order is more specific than an advanced directive. DNR means simply that: no CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). A living will addresses more than just CPR. It addresses issues like if you should be placed on a ventilator if you can’t breathe, if you should be tube fed if you can’t eat, if you should be treated for illnesses other than the one causing your incapacity, and so on. An advanced directive tells the healthcare professionals how much you want done. It can even include if you wish to have your organs donated for transplantation.

When having an advanced directive or living will drawn up, check with your state or provincial laws to see what is required. If your document isn’t legally sound, first responders and other healthcare professionals cannot abide by it and must, legally, try to save your life.

Once you have made your advanced directives, make sure that the important people in your life have a copy. The document won’t be of any use if no-one knows about it or doesn’t have access to it. Be sure to review them regularly. Situations change and people change; how you feel when you write the initial document may not be the same as a year later.

And please, if you haven’t considered being an organ donor, think about it. So many lives can be saved by just one person.

News for Today:
Antidepressant shows early promise in treating agitation and psychotic symptoms of dementia
Depression makes chronic disease worse: WHO
Oncologists are critical in managing psychiatric disorders in patients with advanced cancer
Frequent alcohol consumption increases cancer risk in older women